CAMDEN, NJ (November 2, 2020) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), and New Jersey Second Amendment Society (NJ2AS) announced the filing of a new federal lawsuit challenging the State of New Jersey’s laws that prevent individuals from carrying a loaded handgun outside of the home for self-defense. This new lawsuit challenges New Jersey’s criminal statutory scheme as it relates to carrying loaded, operable handguns outside of the home without a permit as well as the State’s regulatory scheme as it relates to applications for and issuance of carry permits. The case, Bennett v. Davis, can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
New Jersey law makes it a crime for a law-abiding individual to carry a loaded handgun outside of the home unless they have been issued a permit to carry a handgun, thus denying them their right to bear arms. Worse, State law prevents them from obtaining such a permit because of further unconstitutional requirements, such as the demonstration of “justifiable need”, among others. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has previously said that “private citizens should not be able to carry weapons based on mere generalized fear.” However, say the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court’s precedents take that policy choice off the table, and the Constitution itself provides the only justification necessary for law-abiding adults to exercise their fundamental, individual right to bear arms.
“This case is fundamentally a simple but important one,” said attorney for the plaintiffs, Raymond DiGuiseppe. “In New Jersey today, the right to carry loaded handguns in public for all lawful purposes, including self defense, is completely denied to law-abiding people, like and including our clients. But the U.S. Supreme Court has held that such bans are categorically unconstitutional. We look forward to vindicating the rights of our clients and forcing New Jersey to respect the Constitution.”
“The right to keep and bear arms is not limited to the home. In Heller, the Supreme Court held that to ‘bear’ arms means to ‘carry’ them for ‘a particular purpose—confrontation.’ And even the late Justice Ginsburg wrote that bearing arms means to ‘wear, bear, or carry . . . upon the person or in the clothing or in a pocket, for the purpose . . . of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person.’ But the State of New Jersey has totally banned the average law-abiding citizen from exercising their rights. That is unconstitutional and unacceptable,” explained attorney Adam Kraut, FPC’s Director of Legal Strategy.
“New Jersey’s draconian prohibition on the right to protect yourself with a firearm, the same way politicians and judges protect themselves, has endangered lives and created countless victims. New Jersey residents want nothing more than to protect themselves and their loved ones, as they are entitled to. We are confident the courts will agree and proud to join forces with the nation’s leading organizations, the Second Amendment Foundation and Firearm Policy Coalition, to help take this battle to the highest court,” commented Alexander Roubian, president of NJ2AS.
“The right to bear arms must be available to all citizens, not just a privileged few,” remarked SAF Founder and Executive Vice President, Alan Gottlieb. “Like other rights protected by the Constitution, that right is not limited to the confines of one’s home. Ever since the SAF victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago ten years ago, the Second Amendment absolutely applies in New Jersey. We will continue to sue whoever we need to as we restore the Second Amendment one lawsuit at a time.”
“The people of New Jersey have been oppressed by an abusive, authoritarian government for far too long, and we intend to remedy that beginning today,” said FPC President Brandon Combs. “Our nation fought the Revolutionary War to forcefully reject the Crown’s heavy-handed rule and denial of fundamental liberties, including the right to bear arms, but the State has regressively called back to that tyranny as inspiration for its current policies. Governor Murphy, Attorney General Grewal, and other anti-rights government officials may not like that people have the right to carry loaded guns in public, but their opinion doesn’t trump the Constitution. It’s time to bring freedom back home to the Garden State.”
The plaintiffs, including two individuals, FPC, SAF, and NJ2AS, are represented by attorneys David Jensen, DiGuiseppe, and Kraut.
The Bennett case is another important lawsuit filed as part of FPC’s comprehensive strategy to defend freedom, advance individual liberty, and restore the Constitution and its guarantees for individuals throughout the United States.
NOTICE -- YOUR HELP REQUESTED!
FPC is urgently seeking individual and FFL plaintiffs for a number of lawsuits that are being prepared to challenge laws and policies that infringe on fundamental rights, including (but not limited to):
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from purchasing and/or possessing so-called “assault weapons” (semi-automatic firearms with standard characteristics) and “high-capacity” magazines (standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds)
- Laws and policies that prevent 18-20-year-old young adults (under age 21) from obtaining handguns from FFLs and carry loaded, operable arms in public for self-defense
- Laws and policies that prevent individual adults (over the age of 18) from carrying loaded handguns and other arms outside of their home
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring and/or possessing handguns and other arms without first acquiring a “purchase permit”
- Laws and policies that prevent individuals from acquiring or possessing firearms due to a conviction for a non-violent crime, or mental health adjudication that did not involve an involuntary commitment
- Laws that prevent honorably discharged veterans from acquiring or possessing firearms because they have been classified as “a mental defective” due to the agency’s determination that they “lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs” because they need assistance managing VA benefits and have a fiduciary
If someone you know meets the criteria above, or if you would be interested in participating in litigation as a supporting FFL, please contact us:
- On the web at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline
- By email at potentialplaintiffs[at]fpchq.org
- By phone at (855) 252-4510 (FPC Legal Action Hotline available 24/7/365)
If you would like to support FPC’s Bennett case and many other pro-Second Amendment lawsuits, legal action, and research, please chip in $5, $10, $25, or whatever you can at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/donate or Join the FPC Grassroots Army at JoinFPC.org.
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.
Firearms Policy Foundation (firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges, and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms, through research, education, legal action, and other charitable programs.